Derry City manager Declan Devine has reiterated his desire to bring Institute captain Michael McCrudden back to the Brandywell club.
Devine insists McCrudden would be the perfect fit for his new-look Candy Stripes outfit and is hopeful the two clubs can reach an agreement in the coming days.
“I would love to have Michael McCrudden here, he’s a top player and ticks all the boxes in terms of what we’re looking to build at the club,” said Devine. “There’s lots of interest in Michael but hopefully we can reach some sort of agreement with Institute.”
Derry face stiff competition for the player’s signature - with League Two club Port Vale the latest to show an interest in McCrudden, who has netted an incredible 18 league goals so far this season for ’Stute.
Glenavon and Ballymena United both remain interested while Coleraine have had an initial bid turned down by ’Stute.
It’s understood the Bannsiders then tabled a much-improved offer with add-ons should the club qualify for Europe this season.
Commenting after Coleraine’s 1-1 draw with Glenavon last weekend, Bannsiders boss Rodney McAree said he hoped for some clarity on the situation in the coming days.
“We are very interested in Michael McCrudden and we have tabled an offer to Institute,” said McAree. “Michael is surveying his options this transfer window and, hopefully, we will have some more clarity in the next few days.”
Despite the ongoing speculation, Institute boss Paddy McLaughlin remains hopeful McCrudden stays with the club but is hoping for as speedy resolution.
“There is interest from several clubs and Coleraine have made a bid,” McLaughlin said. “As I’ve always said, we want Michael to stay. He is our captain and the team is built around him.”